Jewish Style Writers Forced to Choose Between Fashion Week and Shul

CFDA President and Vice President (and Jews!) Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors (photo: Patrick McMullan)

CFDA President and Vice President (and Jews!) Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors (photo: Patrick McMullan)

Coordinating religious observance and style coverage has never been as difficult as it is this fall. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts tonight. Fashion Week starts tomorrow. Which means that some style writers face the difficult choice: check out the Spring collections or celebrate the beginning of year 5774, Tablet reports.

“I can’t reschedule my faith,” beauty blogger Aly Walansky told Tablet. “I do feel guilty about being completely unavailable for a full two and a half days, but if I’m going to piss someone off, better the fashion gods than God, you know?”

The Jewish calendar is a lunar one, which means that holidays fall on different days every year, and those days are especially early this year. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (whose current president Diane von Furstenberg and vice president Michael Kors are, as Tablet notes, both Jewish) sent out a memo this past May about the overlap:

The Spring/Summer 2014 shows are scheduled for Thursday, September 5 – Thursday, September 12. Please be aware that Rosh Hashanah will start at sundown on Wednesday, September 4 and is observed until sundown on Friday, September 6. The CFDA greatly respects and understands the importance of this holiday but, given the international calendar of European shows directly after New York, we do not have the option to shift the dates later. We realize that the observance of the holiday will impact some in their ability to attend or present shows—but we are asking that everyone please work with us to make this situation work as best as possible.

Some fashion writers are trying to do both, pop-in to daven before running over to watch the runway. And the ever-accomodating Chabad of the West 60s is trying to make it easy by opening the doors of their Lincoln Center-adjacent shul to stylish Jews trying to satisfy God, their bosses and their mothers all at once.

“A Jew should have a place to go for the High Holidays. We happen to be across the street from Lincoln Center and I want to make people feel at home,” Rabbi Yehuda Lipskier told Tablet. “If they want to stop by for a half hour and go back for an hour, they’re more than welcome to just show up.” The Rabbi is even planning a special blessing for the fashion industry during the misheberach (the prayer usually said for those who are ill, which we guess makes sense?).

It will be pretty easy to tell who is trying to do both: if you find yourself at synagogue, look for people wearing heels and leather accented-outfits. If you see fashion folk dressed unusually modestly on Thursday or Friday, go ahead and mumble  “L’Shana Tova.”